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Global Girl Power

Check out these kick-butt female leaders from around the world, and then come see our upcoming production of Evita (which runs April 26-30 on Robsham Mainstage)!

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Queen Elizabeth I of England

Besides having impeccable style (check out that neck ruffle), Elizabeth was known for her cautious foreign policy and defeat of the Spanish Armada. Elizabeth ruled England from 1558-1603 and believed herself to be married to the kingdom of England, so she never married. Under her reign, English drama flourished (led by Shakespeare obvi) and she established a clear national identity for England in relation to the Anglican Church.

"I would rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married. - Elizabeth I

Queen Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba (Angola)

Nzinga established herself as a politician through her work as an ambassador and for her brilliant military tactics (bang bang). She served as queen from 1624-1663, but had been involved in politics for years prior to her coronation. Her skills helped her establish a peace treaty with the Portuguese and an alliance with the Dutch. Today she is remembered in Angola as a symbol against oppression and Angolan women are often married near her statue in Luanda (the capital of Angola), because the patriarchy has no place in their marriages.

"I shall protect my country from danger"-Queen Nzinga

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

The current (and first female) Chancellor of Germany, Angela has spearheaded efforts regarding the financial crisis, health care reform, climate change, and the refugee crisis. Forbes has named her the second most powerful person in the world twice (Putin's always first...*sigh*) and in 2015 she was Time's Person of the Year. As the de facto leader of the EU she has been referred to often as the leader of the free world. You go girl!

"I might bend, but I will NEVER break because it's in my nature as a strong woman. - Angela Merkel

Chandrika Kumaratunga, President of Sri Lanka

As Sri Lanka's first female president, Chandrika served from 1994-2005. After inheriting a nation plagued by ethnic disputes and civil war, Chandrika worked tirelessly to improve the democratic system of Sri Lanka and fight for human rights, especially minority rights, amid the conflict. She also promoted diplomatic solutions to the internal conflict. She survived an assassination attempt and today is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders (how do I join that club?) and the Global Leadership Foundation.

"Peace is a battle. It is never given freely, never acquired. Its conquest is the result of courage and respect for others.- Chandrika Kimaratunga

Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the UK

Margaret Thatcher (aka the Iron Lady, aka Maggie, aka Meryl Streep) was the Prime Minister of the UK from 1979 to1990. Before joining politics, Thatcher was a research chemist because she's just *that* smart. She then became the first woman to lead a political party in the UK and was later elected Prime Minister. She is remembered as one of the greatest and most influential politicians ever and always spoke her mind.

"If you want something said, ask a man; If you want something done, ask a woman."- Margaret Thatcher

Wilma Mankiller, Chief of the Cherokee Nation

Mankiller (ok but how wild is that name) was the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation. She served from 1985 to 1995 and focused primarily on community development projects. She improved infrastructure, encouraged entrepreneurs, and even took it to the White House by participating regularly in federal-tribal negotiations, laying the groundwork for the relationship between the Cherokee government and the US government today. After her term ended she became a professor at Dartmouth College and she was awarded the Medal of Freedom by Bill Clinton (not that she needs any man validating her)!

"We must trust in our own thinking. Trust where we're going. And get the job done."- Wilma Mankiller

Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt

Although she was only meant to be a placeholder for her stepson, Hatshepsut decided to take on the full duties of being pharaoh. She extended Egyptian trade and oversaw some of the most impressive building projects of the time. Because her position as a female in power was highly controversial, she ordered that she be depicted as a male in all statues and paintings. After her death her stepson had almost all evidence of her rule destroyed to eliminate her example as a powerful female leader (not cool man). Thankfully, historians have been able to uncover some of what he missed and piece together this amazing section Egyptian feminist history!

"When the sun shines its rays are bright upon the titulary of my majesty" -Hatshepsut

Elisabeth Domitien, Prime Minister of the Central African Republic

As the first and only woman to hold the position, Elisabeth Domitien served as Prime Minister of the Central African Republic. Despite only being able to receive a rudimentary education in her youth, she taught herself math (which honestly is impressive enough) and established herself as a successful farmer and businesswoman. She used her public speaking ability to form a national identity and get people excited and involved in the liberation movement. As Prime Minister, she regularly spoke out against the president, who was dismissing the needs of his people and violating human rights. Her criticism of him cost her her job and landed her in political prison. Eventually, the bad guy was overthrown and the new government recognized all the good she had done, she received compensation for her unjust treatment. Domitien's bold actions helped liberate her nation from colonization and later from an unjust president and she should be an inspiration to all.

I haven't found any quotes from her on the internet, but I'm sure she said something impressive like "hey stop doing that, that's not what a president is supposed to do"

Czarina Catherine the Great of Russia

Catherine the Great was the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, leading from 1762-1796. She worked to modernize Russia and developed many new towns and cities. The Catherinian Era is often considered a Golden Age in Russian history. Catherine was a huge supporter of the Enlightenment, especially applying the themes to the female condition. She served as a patron of the arts and even established the Smolny Institute, a higher education institution for women. Today she is one of Russia's most loved and memorable rulers, earning herself the title of Catherine "The Great".

"I praise loudly. I blame softly"-Catherine the Great

Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States

Eleanor Roosevelt was far more than a first lady. She served as a US delegate to the UN General Assembly and an activist for expanding female roles in the workplace, the civil rights of African Americans and Asian Americans, and the rights of World War II refugees. She served as the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights and she chaired the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. Eleanor took the first lady position and made it more than it had ever been previously, and she didn't let her status as the first lady hold her back from achieving other goals in her personal life. She has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame and her legacy lives on.

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."- Eleanor Roosevelt

Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel

The Iron Lady of Israeli politics, Golda Meir is the only female to hold the position of Prime Minister in Israel's history. She was a major player in the Zionist movement. After being diagnosed with lymphoma, she retired from politics, but was brought out of retirement in 1969 when she was elected Prime Minister after the sudden death of her predecessor. She worked with US and Egyptian officials to strive toward creating a sustainable peace.

"Whether women are better than men I cannot say- but I can say they are certainly no worse"- Golda Meir

Indira Ghandi, Prime Minister of India

Indira, to date the only female Prime Minister of India, is remembered for her centralization of power, support for the independence movement, and the length of her time in power. BBC named Indira "Woman of the Millennium" in 1999. She achieved the passage of an Equal Pay for Equal Work law in the Indian Constitution. She was assassinated in 1984, but was honored posthumously by the creation of multiple awards named after her, many created to honor and support female politicians.

""My father was a statesman, I am a political woman. My father was a saint. I am not."- Indira Gandhi

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is the current President of Liberia and the first elected female head of state in Africa. She received the Nobel Peace Prize for the non-violent struggle for the safety of women and women's rights through peace building. She established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to promote national peace and security. She is one of the most powerful women in the world and possibly the best president Liberia has seen.

"All girls know that they can be anything now. That transformation is to me one of the most satisfying things"- Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark

This Danish politician's career included serving as the leader of the Social Democrat party, as well as the Prime Minister. Her policies were centrist and focused on compromise between opposing parties in the government. Her political achievements include tax reform, successful drone strikes, and rolling back restrictions on asylum seekers. Today, she serves as the chief executive of the NGO Save the Children.

"For young girls, whom I meet a lot when I travel around the country, it will be a big thing. It will really show them that there is no post in Denmark that a girl can't aspire to" - Helle Thorning-Schmidt

Eva Peron, First Lady of Argentina

Eva served as the first lady of Argentina and was celebrated as the Spiritual Leader of the nation. She is often credited with gaining the right to vote for women through her vocal support of women's suffrage and her public calls to male Peronists to vote in favor of women's suffrage. Eva created the female Peronist party which served as the first large female political party in Argentina. Her life has inspired the musical Evita which Boston College Theatre Department will be performing April 26-30!

"I demand more rights for women because I know what women had to put up with."- Eva Peron

"Go see BC Theatre sing and dance their way through my life"-Eva (probably)

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